Source Department of Hepatology, Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.
Background & Aims: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of telaprevir in combination with peginterferon-α2b (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
METHODS: In a multi-center randomized clinical trial in Japan, 126 patients were assigned to telaprevir for 12 weeks along with PEG-IFN and RBV for 24 weeks (Group A), while 63 to PEG-IFN and RBV for 48 weeks (Group B) who were infected with HCV of genotype 1.
RESULTS: HCV RNA disappeared more swiftly in patients in Group A than B, and the frequency of patients without detectable HCV RNA at week 4 (rapid virological response [RVR]) was higher in Group A than B (84.0% vs. 4.8%, p < 0.0001). Grade 3 and 4 skin disorders, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and drug rashes with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, as well as Grade 3 anemia (< 8.0 g/dL), occurred more frequently in Group A than B (skin disorders, 11.9% vs. 4.8%; anemia, 11.1% vs. 0.0%). The total RBV dose was smaller in Group A than B (47.0% vs. 77.7% of the target, p < 0.0001). Despite these drawbacks, sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved more frequently in Group A than B (73.0% vs. 49.2%, p = 0.0020).
CONCLUSIONS: Although the triple therapy with telaprevir-based regimen for 24 weeks resulted in more adverse events and less total RBV dose than PEG-IFN and RBV for 48 weeks, it was able to achieve higher SVR within shorter duration by carefully monitoring adverse events and modifying the RBV dose as required.